Advancing Religious Freedom and Pluralism
Advancing international religious freedom is a major foreign policy priority of the United States in order to reduce levels of religious persecution, bias and discrimination, reduce religion-related violent extremism and terrorism, and track and prevent potential mass atrocities through early warning systems.
The Middle East has a rich history of religious and ethnic pluralism. In some places, however, policies, social practices, and external influences have fueled religious and ethnic polarization, persecution, and even genocide - as seen perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These factors undermine social cohesion, economic growth, governance, peace, and security. USAID activities that support religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East are essential components to preserve diverse, vibrant communities that are peaceful, prosperous, and secure.
Since 2017, USAID has provided over $370 million for activities that support religious and ethnic minorities across the region.